The Bedazzled 2000 version stars the beautiful Elizabeth Hurley and the talented Brendan Frasier

Unfortunately, in Bedazzled 2000, the talent
is wasted in this pale shadow of a classic

One of the staples of Hollywood is the remake. Take a older film that was successful and redo it. Some times this works as in the case of Lolita where the remake exceeded the original. All too often the remake is a shadow of the original, thus is the case with Bedazzle. The 1967 version was written and stared the comic geniuses Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

The Bedazzled 2000 version stars the beautiful Elizabeth Hurley and the talented Brendan Frasier. Unfortunately, the talent is wasted in this pale shadow of a classic. Fraiser plays Elliot, a nice guy that is in love with Alison (Frances O'Connor). Problem is she is barely aware of his being alive. Enter Satan (Hurley) who offers the belabored Elliot seven wishes in exchange for his soul. Of course every wish has an unexpected side effect, at least it was supposed to be unexpected.

For example, he wishes he was powerful, rich and married to Alison. He awakens to find the wish granted but the catch is he is a drug lord on the verge of being busted. While the premise is solid the execution lacks the comic flair needed to pull the movie off. Some of the gags are too obvious, the devil literally wears a red dress. There is too much overt sex drive exhibited by Satan that does not add to the story but diverts the audience perhaps in an attempt to fill in the many gaps in the story line.

The actors are excellent in Bedazzled 2000. At least I know this from other work that they have done. Frasier has a great sense of comic timing and a face that can sell almost any joke. After all this is the man that took on George of the Jungle and actually advanced his career.

Hurley is sultry and sexy, as always. She can also do comedy as was evident in Austin Powers. In Bedazzled 2000 she is reduced to scenery. O’Connor, who was excellent in Mansfield Park is almost reduced to a bit player here. The bottom line is the talent is wasted on a script that cannot hold the attention of the viewer.

While there is chemistry between Hurley and Frasier it is not developed and Bedazzled 2000 comes off as a disjointed series of vignettes. Hurley tries too hard to be the seductress, a role that the audience would naturally accept her in did not require the over the top push that she gives here. She carries off some of the jokes well such as the one where she asks Elliot ‘would I lie to you?’ Her facial expression here works so well I couldn’t help but to laugh.

Fraiser has a knack for playing the nice guy. The type of man that many can identify with. In a film like this we know that the nerd will come out on top but we also want to see him work for it. Friser seems to glide through all the trouble that besets him. In the original the interaction between Cook ad Moore was a lot more antagonistic. This tension between the leads was absent in Bedazzled 2000.

The director of Bedazzled 2000 is also an under utilized comic master. While his career as a director has been uneven he has demonstrated many times his ability to bring in a mega hit. For every ‘Stuart Saves His Family’ he has directed films like ‘Ghostbusters’ or ‘Analyze This’.

Ramis has shown his ability in writing, directing and acting but here he seems to have phoned in the job. The scenes are well framed and lit giving the needed surreal feel but the main thing that harms this production is the lack of timing. Some of the ‘wishes’ are rushed while others seem to drag on. In a film like Bedazzled 2000, pacing is everything.

If Ramis had directed Bedazzled 2000 more like Ghostbusters the result would have been a lot more palatable. There was nothing really overt in the factors that lead to this being a miss, just a general sense of something not quite hitting the mark that prevails throughout the film. The professional edge that marked Ramis’ previous works is absent here.

As happens all too often lately the studios seem more concerned with the mastering of the DVD than the content. I have many little independent films that are in mono or two-channel sound that I hold in higher regard. Bedazzle is a masterpiece of authoring. The Dolby 5.1 audio is incredible. The sound field is full and rich. There are no gaps in the surround effect. The special effects are carried out not only by the visuals but extend into the sound. Add to this full THX certification and you have some audio tack.

The anamorphic 2.35:1 video is also excellent. This is especially evident in the many scene changes from dark to light. There are no technical artifacts and the disc is near calibration quality. The extras are also well done. There are two commentaries with Bedazzled 2000. The first by director Ramis permits us a look into the process used to create the film. Typical of Ramis’ other commentaries he is liberal with giving credit where credit is due to the many people required to make a film. The second commentary is by Hurley and the producer, Trevor Albert. This is more gossip than technical in nature. There is also a typical Making of featurette, a costume design featurette and a still gallery. While the technical nature of the Bedazzled 2000 disc is excellent this comedy missing the mark of what it could have been. My advise look for the original instead.

Review by Doug MacLean of

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